Basil I, called the Macedonian was a Byzantine Emperor who reigned from 867 to 886. Born a simple peasant in the theme of Macedonia, he rose in the Imperial court, he entered into the service of Theophilitzes, a relative of Emperor Michael III, was given a fortune by the wealthy Danielis. He gained the favour of Michael III, whose mistress he married on the emperor's orders, was proclaimed co-emperor in 866, he ordered the assassination of Michael the next year. Despite his humble origins, he showed great ability in running the affairs of state, he was the founder of the Macedonian dynasty. He was succeeded upon his death by his son Leo VI. Basil was born to peasant parents in late 811 at Chariopolis in the Byzantine theme of Macedonia; the name of his father was Bardas, the name of his grandfather was Maïktes. His ethnic origin is unknown, has been a subject of debate. During Basil's reign, an elaborate genealogy was produced that purported that his ancestors were not mere peasants, as everyone believed, but descendants of the Arsacid kings of Armenia, of Constantine the Great.
The Armenian historians Samuel of Ani and Stephen of Taron record that he hailed from the village of Thil in Taron. In contrast, Persian writers such as Hamza al-Isfahani, or al-Tabari call both Basil and his mother Saqlabi, an ethnogeographic term that denoted the Slavs, but can be interpreted as a generic term encompassing the inhabitants of the region between Constantinople and Bulgaria. Claims have therefore been made for an Armenian, Slavic, or indeed "Armeno-Slavonic" origin for Basil I; the name of his mother points to a Greek origin on the maternal side. The general scholarly consensus is that Basil's father was "probably" of Armenian origin, settled in Byzantine Thrace; the author of the only dedicated biography of Basil I in English has concluded that it is impossible to be certain what the ethnic origins of the emperor were, though Basil was reliant on the support of Armenians in prominent positions within the Byzantine Empire. One story asserts that he had spent a part of his childhood in captivity in Bulgaria, where his family had been carried off as captives of the Khan Krum in 813.
Basil lived there until 836, when he and several others escaped to Byzantine-held territory in Thrace. Basil was lucky enough to enter the service of Theophilitzes, a relative of the Caesar Bardas, as a groom. While serving Theophilitzes, he visited the city of Patras, where he gained the favour of Danielis, a wealthy woman who took him into her household and endowed him with a fortune, he earned the notice of Michael III by his abilities as a horse tamer and in winning a victory over a Bulgarian champion in a wrestling match. Symeon Magister describes Basil as "... most outstanding in bodily form and heavy set. On Emperor Michael's orders, Basil divorced his wife Maria and married Eudokia Ingerina, Michael's favourite mistress, in around 865. During an expedition against the Arabs, Basil convinced Michael III that his uncle Bardas coveted the Byzantine throne, subsequently murdered Bardas with Michael's approval on April 21, 866. Basil became the leading personality at court and was invested in the now vacant dignity of kaisar, before being crowned co-emperor on May 26, 866.
This promotion may have included Basil's adoption by himself a much younger man. It was believed that Leo VI, Basil's successor and reputed son, was the son of Michael. Although Basil seems to have shared this belief, the subsequent promotion of Basil to caesar and co-emperor provided the child with a legitimate and Imperial parent and secured his succession to the Byzantine throne; when Leo was born, Michael III celebrated the event with public chariot races, whilst he pointedly instructed Basil not to presume on his new position as junior emperor. When Michael III started to favour another courtier, Basil decided that his position was being undermined. Michael threatened to invest Basiliskianos with the Imperial title and this induced Basil to pre-empt events by organizing the assassination of Michael on the night of September 23/24, 867. Michael and Basiliskianos were insensibly drunk following a banquet at the palace of Anthimos when Basil, with a small group of companions, gained entry.
The locks to the chamber doors had been tampered with and the chamberlain had not posted guards. On Michael III's death, Basil, as an acclaimed co-emperor, automatically became the ruling basileus. Basil I became an effective and respected monarch, ruling for 19 years, despite being a man with no formal education and little military or administrative experience. Moreover, he had been the boon companion of a debauched monarch and had achieved power through a series of calculated murders; that there was little political reaction to the murder of Michael III is due to his unpopularity with the bureaucrats of Constantinople because of his disinterest in the administrative duties of the Imperial office. Michael's public displays of impiety had alienated the Byzantine populace in general. Once in power Basil s
Sparta was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece. In antiquity the city-state was known as Lacedaemon, while the name Sparta referred to its main settlement on the banks of the Eurotas River in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. Around 650 BC, it rose to become the dominant military land-power in ancient Greece. Given its military pre-eminence, Sparta was recognized as the leading force of the unified Greek military during the Greco-Persian Wars. Between 431 and 404 BC, Sparta was the principal enemy of Athens during the Peloponnesian War, from which it emerged victorious, though at a great cost of lives lost. Sparta's defeat by Thebes in the Battle of Leuctra in 371 BC ended Sparta's prominent role in Greece. However, it maintained its political independence until the Roman conquest of Greece in 146 BC, it underwent a long period of decline in the Middle Ages, when many Spartans moved to live in Mystras. Modern Sparta is the capital of the Greek regional unit of Laconia and a center for the processing of goods such as citrus and olives.
Sparta was unique in ancient Greece for its social system and constitution, which configured their entire society to maximize military proficiency at all costs, focused on military training and excellence. Its inhabitants were classified as Spartiates, mothakes and helots. Spartiates underwent the rigorous agoge training and education regimen, Spartan phalanges were considered to be among the best in battle. Spartan women enjoyed more rights and equality to men than elsewhere in the classical antiquity. Sparta was the subject of fascination in its own day, as well as in Western culture following the revival of classical learning; this love or admiration of Sparta is known as Laconophilia. At its peak around 500 BC the size of the city would have been some 20,000–35,000 citizens, plus numerous helots and perioikoi; the total of 40,000–50,000 made Sparta one of the largest Greek cities. The French classicist François Ollier in his 1933 book Le mirage spartiate warned that a major scholarly problem regarding Sparta is that all the surviving accounts were written by non-Spartans who presented an excessively idealized image of Sparta.
The earliest attested term referring to Lacedaemon is the Mycenaean Greek, ra-ke-da-mi-ni-jo, "Lacedaimonian", written in Linear B syllabic script, being the equivalent of the written in the Greek alphabet, latter Greek, Λακεδαιμόνιος, Lakedaimonios. The ancient Greeks used one of three words to refer to the home location of the Spartans; the first refers to the main cluster of settlements in the valley of the Eurotas River: Sparta. The second word was Lacedaemon. Herodotus seems to denote by it the Mycenaean Greek citadel at Therapne, in contrast to the lower town of Sparta, it could be used synonymously with Sparta, but it was not. It denoted the terrain. In Homer it is combined with epithets of the countryside: wide, lovely and most hollow and broken; the hollow suggests the Eurotas Valley. Sparta on the other hand is the country of a people epithet; the name of the population was used for the state of Lacedaemon: the Lacedaemonians. This epithet utilized the plural of the adjective Lacedaemonius.
If the ancients wished to refer to the country more directly, instead of Lacedaemon, they could use a back-formation from the adjective: Lacedaemonian country. As most words for "country" were feminine, the adjective was in the feminine: Lacedaemonia; the adjective came to be used alone. "Lacedaemonia" was not in general use during the classical period and before. It does occur in Greek as an equivalent of Laconia and Messenia during the Roman and early Byzantine periods in ethnographers and lexica glossing place names. For example, Hesychius of Alexandria's Lexicon defines Agiadae as a "place in Lacedaemonia" named after Agis; the actual transition may be captured by Isidore of Seville's Etymologiae, an etymological dictionary. He relied on Orosius' Historiarum Adversum Paganos and Eusebius of Caesarea's Chronicon as did Orosius; the latter defines Sparta to be Lacedaemonia Civitas but Isidore defines Lacedaemonia as founded by Lacedaemon, son of Semele, relying on Eusebius. There is a rare use the earliest of Lacedaemonia, in Diodorus Siculus, but with Χὠρα suppressed.
The immediate area around the town of Sparta, the plateau east of the Taygetos mountains, was referred as Laconice. This term was sometimes used to refer to all the regions under direct Spartan control, including Messenia. Lakedaimona was until 2006 the name of a province in the modern Greek prefecture of Laconia. Sparta is located in the south-eastern Peloponnese. Ancient Sparta was built on the banks of the Eurotas River, the main river of Laconia, which provided it with a source of fresh water; the valley of the Eurotas is a natural fo
Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, with its recorded history spanning over 3,400 years and its earliest human presence starting somewhere between the 11th and 7th millennium BC. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state that emerged in conjunction with the seagoing development of the port of Piraeus, a distinct city prior to its 5th century BC incorporation with Athens. A center for the arts and philosophy, home of Plato's Academy and Aristotle's Lyceum, it is referred to as the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy because of its cultural and political impact on the European continent, in particular the Romans. In modern times, Athens is a large cosmopolitan metropolis and central to economic, industrial, maritime and cultural life in Greece. In 2012, Athens was ranked the world's 39th richest city by purchasing power and the 67th most expensive in a UBS study. Athens is a global one of the biggest economic centres in southeastern Europe.
It has a large financial sector, its port Piraeus is both the largest passenger port in Europe, the second largest in the world. While at the same time being the sixth busiest passenger port in Europe; the Municipality of Athens had a population of 664,046 within its administrative limits, a land area of 38.96 km2. The urban area of Athens extends beyond its administrative municipal city limits, with a population of 3,090,508 over an area of 412 km2. According to Eurostat in 2011, the functional urban area of Athens was the 9th most populous FUA in the European Union, with a population of 3.8 million people. Athens is the southernmost capital on the European mainland; the heritage of the classical era is still evident in the city, represented by ancient monuments and works of art, the most famous of all being the Parthenon, considered a key landmark of early Western civilization. The city retains Roman and Byzantine monuments, as well as a smaller number of Ottoman monuments. Athens is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Acropolis of Athens and the medieval Daphni Monastery.
Landmarks of the modern era, dating back to the establishment of Athens as the capital of the independent Greek state in 1834, include the Hellenic Parliament and the so-called "architectural trilogy of Athens", consisting of the National Library of Greece, the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and the Academy of Athens. Athens is home to several museums and cultural institutions, such as the National Archeological Museum, featuring the world's largest collection of ancient Greek antiquities, the Acropolis Museum, the Museum of Cycladic Art, the Benaki Museum and the Byzantine and Christian Museum. Athens was the host city of the first modern-day Olympic Games in 1896, 108 years it welcomed home the 2004 Summer Olympics, making it one of only a handful of cities to have hosted the Olympics more than once. In Ancient Greek, the name of the city was Ἀθῆναι a plural. In earlier Greek, such as Homeric Greek, the name had been current in the singular form though, as Ἀθήνη, it was rendered in the plural on, like those of Θῆβαι and Μυκῆναι.
The root of the word is not of Greek or Indo-European origin, is a remnant of the Pre-Greek substrate of Attica. In antiquity, it was debated whether Athens took its name from its patron goddess Athena or Athena took her name from the city. Modern scholars now agree that the goddess takes her name from the city, because the ending -ene is common in names of locations, but rare for personal names. During the medieval period, the name of the city was rendered once again in the singular as Ἀθήνα. However, after the establishment of the modern Greek state, due to the conservatism of the written language, Ἀθῆναι became again the official name of the city and remained so until the abandonment of Katharevousa in the 1970s, when Ἀθήνα, Athína, became the official name. According to the ancient Athenian founding myth, the goddess of wisdom, competed against Poseidon, the god of the seas, for patronage of the yet-unnamed city. According to the account given by Pseudo-Apollodorus, Poseidon struck the ground with his trident and a salt water spring welled up.
In an alternative version of the myth from Vergil's Georgics, Poseidon instead gave the Athenians the first horse. In both versions, Athena offered the Athenians the first domesticated olive tree. Cecrops declared Athena the patron goddess of Athens. Different etymologies, now rejected, were proposed during the 19th century. Christian Lobeck proposed as the root of the name the word ἄθος or ἄνθος meaning "flower", to denote Athens as the "flowering city". Ludwig von Döderlein proposed the stem of the verb θάω, stem θη- to denote Athens as having fertile soil. In classical literature, the city was sometimes referred to as the City of the Violet Crown, first documented in Pindar's ἰοστέφανοι Ἀθᾶναι, or as τὸ κλεινὸν ἄστυ. In medieval texts, variant names include Setines and Astines, all derivations involving false splitting of p
Alexios I Komnenos
Alexios I Komnenos, Latinized Alexius I Comnenus, was Byzantine emperor from 1081 to 1118. Although he was not the founder of the Komnenian dynasty, it was during his reign that the Komnenos family came to full power. Inheriting a collapsing empire and faced with constant warfare during his reign against both the Seljuq Turks in Asia Minor and the Normans in the western Balkans, Alexios was able to curb the Byzantine decline and begin the military and territorial recovery known as the Komnenian restoration; the basis for this recovery were various reforms initiated by Alexios. His appeals to Western Europe for help against the Turks were the catalyst that contributed to the convoking of the Crusades. Alexios was the son of the Domestic of the Schools John Komnenos and Anna Dalassene, the nephew of Isaac I Komnenos. Alexios' father declined the throne on the abdication of Isaac, thus succeeded by four emperors of other families between 1059 and 1081. Under one of these emperors, Romanos IV Diogenes, Alexios served with distinction against the Seljuq Turks.
Under Michael VII Doukas Parapinakes and Nikephoros III Botaneiates, he was employed, along with his elder brother Isaac, against rebels in Asia Minor, in Epirus. In 1074, western mercenaries led by Roussel de Bailleul rebelled in Asia Minor, but Alexios subdued them by 1076. In 1078, he was appointed commander of the field army in the West by Nikephoros III. In this capacity, Alexios defeated the rebellions of Nikephoros Bryennios the Elder and Nikephoros Basilakes, the first at the Battle of Kalavrye and the latter in a surprise night attack on his camp. Alexios was ordered to march against his brother-in-law Nikephoros Melissenos in Asia Minor but refused to fight his kinsman; this did not, lead to a demotion, as Alexios was needed to counter the expected invasion of the Normans of Southern Italy, led by Robert Guiscard. While Byzantine troops were assembling for the expedition, the Doukas faction at court approached Alexios and convinced him to join a conspiracy against Nikephoros III; the mother of Alexios, Anna Dalassene, was to play a prominent role in this coup d'état of 1081, along with the current empress, Maria of Alania.
First married to Michael VII Doukas and secondly to Nikephoros III Botaneiates, she was preoccupied with the future of her son by Michael VII, Constantine Doukas. Nikephoros III intended to leave the throne to one of his close relatives, this resulted in Maria's ambivalence and alliance with the Komnenoi, though the real driving force behind this political alliance was Anna Dalassene; the empress was closely connected to the Komnenoi through Maria's cousin Irene's marriage to Isaac Komnenos, so the Komnenoi brothers were able to see her under the pretense of a friendly family visit. Furthermore, to aid the conspiracy Maria had adopted Alexios as her son, though she was only five years older than he. Maria was persuaded to do so on the advice of her own "Alans" and her eunuchs, instigated by Isaac Komnenos. Given Anna's tight hold on her family, Alexios must have been adopted with her implicit approval; as a result and Constantine, Maria's son, were now adoptive brothers, both Isaac and Alexios took an oath that they would safeguard his rights as emperor.
By secretly giving inside information to the Komnenoi, Maria was an invaluable ally. As stated in the Alexiad and Alexios left Constantinople in mid-February 1081 to raise an army against Botaneiates. However, when the time came and surreptitiously mobilized the remainder of the family and took refuge in the Hagia Sophia. From there she negotiated with the emperor for the safety of family members left in the capital, while protesting her sons' innocence of hostile actions. Under the falsehood of making a vesperal visit to worship at the church, she deliberately excluded the grandson of Botaneiates and his loyal tutor, met with Alexios and Isaac, fled for the forum of Constantine; the tutor discovered they were missing and found them on the palace grounds, but Anna was able to convince him that they would return to the palace shortly. To gain entrance to both the outer and inner sanctuary of the church, the women pretended to the gatekeepers that they were pilgrims from Cappadocia who had spent all their funds and wanted to worship before starting their return trip.
However, before they were to gain entry into the sanctuary and royal guards caught up with them to summon them back to the palace. Anna protested that the family was in fear for their lives, her sons were loyal subjects, had learned of a plot by enemies of the Komnenoi to have them both blinded and had, fled the capital so they may continue to be of loyal service to the emperor, she refused to go with them and demanded that they allow her to pray to the Mother of God for protection. This request was granted and Anna manifested her true theatrical and manipulative capabilities: She was allowed to enter; as if she were weighed down with old age and worn out by grief, she walked and when she approached the actual entrance to the sanctuary made two genuflections. Nikephoros III Botaneiates was forced into a public vow that he would grant protection to the family. Straboromanos tried to give Anna his cross, but for her it was not sufficiently
Alexander (Byzantine emperor)
Alexander, sometimes numbered Alexander III, ruled as Emperor of the Byzantine Empire in 912–913. Alexander was the third son of Emperor Basil Eudokia Ingerina. Unlike his older brother Leo VI the Wise, his paternity was not disputed between Basil I and Michael III because he was born years after the death of Michael; as a child, Alexander was crowned as co-emperor by his father around 879. Upon the death of his brother Leo on 11 May 912, Alexander succeeded as senior emperor alongside Leo's young son Constantine VII, he was the first Byzantine emperor to use the term "autocrator" on coinage to celebrate the ending of his thirty-three years as co-emperor. Alexander promptly dismissed most of Leo's advisers and appointees, including the admiral Himerios, the patriarch Euthymios, the Empress Zoe Karbonopsina, the mother of Constantine VII whom he locked up in a nunnery; the patriarchate was again conferred on Nicholas Mystikos, removed from this position because he had opposed Leo's fourth marriage.
During his short reign, Alexander found himself attacked by the forces of Al-Muqtadir of the Abbasid Caliphate in the East, provoked a war with Simeon I of Bulgaria by refusing to send the traditional tribute on his accession. Alexander died of exhaustion after a game of tzykanion on June 6, 913 fulfilling his brother's prophecy that he would reign for 13 months; the sources are uniformly hostile towards Alexander, depicted as lazy, lecherous and malignant, including the rumor that he planned to castrate the young Constantine VII in order to exclude him from the succession. At least that charge did not come to pass, but Alexander left his successor a hostile regent and the beginning of a long war against Bulgaria; the sources accused the Emperor of idolatry, including making pagan sacrifices to the golden statue of a boar in the Hippodrome in hope of curing his impotence. List of Byzantine emperors The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium. Oxford University Press. 1991. John Julius Norwich. Byzantium, The Apogee.
Penguin Books. ISBN 0140114483
Great Palace of Constantinople
The Great Palace of Constantinople known as the Sacred Palace, was the large Imperial Byzantine palace complex located in the south-eastern end of the peninsula now known as Old Istanbul, in modern Turkey. It served as the main royal residence of the Eastern Roman or Byzantine emperors from 330 to 1081 and was the center of imperial administration for over 690 years. Only a few remnants and fragments of its foundations have survived into the present day; when Constantine I moved the Roman capital to Constantinople in 330, he planned out a palace for himself and his heirs. The palace was located between the Hagia Sophia, it was expanded several times during its history. Much of the complex was destroyed during the Nika riots of 532 and was rebuilt lavishly by the emperor Justinian I. Further extensions and alterations were commissioned by Justinian II and Basil I. However, it had fallen into disrepair by the time of Constantine VII. From the early 11th century onwards the Byzantine emperors favored the Palace of Blachernae as an imperial residence, though they continued to use the Great Palace as the primary administrative and ceremonial center of the city.
It declined during the following century when parts of the complex were demolished or filled with rubble. During the sack of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade, the Palace was plundered by the soldiers of Boniface of Montferrat. Although the subsequent Latin emperors continued to use the Palace complex, they lacked money for its maintenance; the last Latin emperor, Baldwin II, went as far as removing the lead roofs of the Palace and selling them. When the city was retaken by the forces of Michael VIII Palaiologos in 1261, the Great Palace was in disrepair; the Palaiologos emperors abandoned it, ruling from Blachernae and using the vaults as a prison. When Mehmed II entered the city in 1453, he found the palace abandoned; as he wandered its empty halls and pavilions, he whispered a quote from the Persian poet, Saadi: The spider is curtain-bearer in the palace of Chosroes, The owl sounds the relief in the castle of Afrasiyab. Much of the palace was demolished in the general rebuilding of Constantinople in the early years of the Ottoman era.
The area was turned into housing with a number of small mosques before Sultan Ahmet I demolished the remnants of the Daphne and Kathisma Palaces to build the Sultan Ahmed Mosque and its adjoining buildings. The site of the Great Palace began to be investigated in the late 19th century and an early 20th-century fire uncovered a section of the Great Palace. On this site prison cells, many large rooms, tombs were found. Initial excavations were carried out by French archaeologists at the Palace of Manganae between 1921-23. A much larger excavation was carried out by the University of St Andrews in 1935 to 1938. Further excavations took place under the directorship of David Talbot Rice from 1952 to 1954, which uncovered a section of one of the south-western buildings at the Arasta Bazaar; the archaeologists discovered a spectacular series of wall and floor mosaics which have been conserved in the Great Palace Mosaic Museum. Excavations are continuing elsewhere, but so far, less than one quarter of the total area covered by the palace has been excavated.
The Palace was located in the southeastern corner of the peninsula where Constantinople is situated, behind the Hippodrome and the Hagia Sophia. The Palace is considered by scholars to have been a series of pavilions, much like the Ottoman-era Topkapı Palace that succeeded it; the total surface area of the Great Palace exceeded 200,000 square feet. It stood on a steeply sloping hillside that descends nearly 33 metres from the Hippodrome to the shoreline, which necessitated the construction of large substructures and vaults; the palace complex occupied six distinct terraces descending to the shore. The main entrance to the Palace quarter was the Chalke gate at the Augustaion; the Augustaion was located on the south side of the Hagia Sophia, it was there that the city's main street, the Mese, began. To the east of the square lay the Senate house or Palace of Magnaura, where the University was housed, to the west the Milion, the old Baths of Zeuxippus. Behind the Chalke Gate, facing southwards, were the barracks of the palace guards, the Scholae Palatinae.
After the barracks stood the reception hall of the 19 Accubita, followed by the Palace of Daphne, in early Byzantine times the main imperial residence. It included the emperor's bedchamber. From the Daphne, a passage led directly to the imperial box in the Hippodrome; the main throne room was the Chrysotriklinos, built by Justin II, expanded and renovated by Basil I, with the palatine chapel of the Theotokos of the Pharos nearby. To its north lay the Triconchos palace, built by the emperor Theophilos and accessible through a semicircular antechamber known as the Sigma. To the east of the Triconchos lay the lavishly decorated Nea Ekklesia, built by Basil I, with five gilded domes; the church survived until after the Ottoman conquest. It was used as a gunpowder magazine and exploded when it was struck by lightning in 1490. Between the church and the sea walls lay the polo field of the Tzykanisterion. Further to the south, detached from the main complex lay
Polo is a horseback mounted team sport. It is one of the world's oldest known team sports. A game of Central Asian origin, polo was first played in Persia at dates given from the 6th century BC to the 1st century AD. Polo was at first a training game for cavalry units the king’s guard or other elite troops. From there it spread beyond, it is now popular around the world, with well over 100 member countries in the Federation of International Polo. It is played professionally in 16 countries, it was an Olympic sport from 1900 to 1936. It is known as the sport of kings, it has become a spectator sport for equestrians and society supported by sponsorship. The game is played by two opposing teams with the objective of scoring goals by hitting a small hard ball with a long-handled wooden mallet, through the opposing team's goal; each team has four mounted riders, the game lasts one to two hours, divided into periods called chukkas. Arena polo has similar rules, is played with three players per team; the playing area is smaller, of compacted sand or fine aggregate indoors.
Arena polo has more maneuvering due to space limitations, uses an air inflated ball larger than the hard field polo ball. Standard mallets are used, though larger head arena mallets are an option. Although the exact origins of the game are unknown it most began as a simple game played by mounted Iranian nomads in Central Asia, from where it spread to Persia and beyond. In time polo became. Women played as well as men. During the period of the Parthian Empire, the sport had great patronage under the kings and noblemen. According to the Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity, was a Persian ball game and an important pastime in the court of the Sasanian Empire, it was part of royal education for the Sasanian ruling class. Emperor Shapur II learnt to play polo when he was seven years old in 316 AD. Known as chovgan it is still played in the region today. Valuable for training cavalry, the game was played from Constantinople to Japan by the Middle Ages; the game spread south to Arabia and to India and Tibet.
The game continued to be supported by Mongol rulers of Persia in the 11th century, as well as under the Safavid dynasty. In the 17th century, Naqsh-i Jahan Square in Isfahan was built as a polo field by King Abbas I; the game was learnt by the neighbouring Byzantine Empire at an early date. A tzykanisterion was built by emperor Theodosius II inside the Great Palace of Constantinople. Emperor Basil I excelled at it. After the Muslim conquests to the Ayyubid and Mameluke dynasties of Egypt and the Levant, their elites favoured it above all other sports. Notable sultans such as Saladin and Baybars were known to encourage it in their court. Polo sticks were features on the Mameluke precursor to modern day playing cards; the game spread to South Asia where it has had a strong presence in the north western areas of present-day Pakistan since at least the 15th-16th century. The name polo is said meaning ball. Qutubuddin Aibak, the Turkic slave from Central Asia who became the Sultan of Delhi in Northern India, ruled as a Sultan for only four years, from 1206 to 1210, dying an accidental death during a game of polo when his horse fell and he was impaled on the pommel of his saddle.
Polo travelled via the Silk Road to China where it was popular in the Chinese Tang dynasty capital of Chang'an, played by women, who wore male dress to do so. According to the Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity, the popularity of polo in Tang China was "bolstered, no doubt, by the presence of the Sasanian court in exile". An archaic variation of polo, regionally referred to as buzkashi or kokpar, is still played in parts of Asia; the modern game of polo is derived from Manipur, where the game was known as'Sagol Kangjei','Kanjai-bazee', or'Pulu'. It was the anglicised form of the last, referring to the wooden ball, used, adopted by the sport in its slow spread to the west; the first polo club was established in the town of Silchar in Assam, India, in 1833. The origins of the game in Manipur are traced to early precursors of Sagol Kangjei; this was one of three forms of hockey in Manipur, the other ones being field hockey and wrestling-hockey. Local rituals such as those connected to the Marjing, the Winged-Pony God of Polo and the creation-ritual episodes of the Lai Haraoba festival enacting the life of his son, Khori-Phaba, the polo-playing god of sports.
These may indicate an origin earlier than the historical records of Manipur. According to Chaitharol-Kumbaba, a Royal Chronicle of Manipur King Kangba who ruled Manipur much earlier than Nongda Lairen Pakhangba introduced Sagol Kangjei. Further regular playing of this game commenced in 1605 during the reign of King Khagemba under newly framed rules of the game; however it was the first Mughal emperor, who popularised the sport in India and made a significant influence on England. In Manipur, polo is traditionally played with seven players to a side; the players are mounted on the indigenous Manipuri pony. There are no go